10 Things to Know About SHINee in Celebration of Their 10th Anniversary
K-pop boy band SHINee’s been lighting up the world with consistently great music since their first release in 2008, and ten years on the group is celebrating their 10th anniversary this week. Over the years, SHINee’s become synonymous with high-quality, artistic music and charismatic performances, and have regularly charted at No. 1 and 2 on the World Albums chart.
Coming off of last year’s tragic loss of member Kim Jonghyun, the South Korean act is telling The Story of Light in three upcoming EPs to celebrate their decade as pop stars. Ahead of their trio of commemorative albums, here are some things to know about the shining K-pop group.
1. They released their first album Replay on May 22 in 2008, changing K-pop forever.
The five-member boy band released their Replay album fronted by a title track subtitled “Noona’s So Pretty,” featuring the Korean word that males use to refer to any older woman they have an intimate relationship with, ranging from sisters to lovers. The song became a major hit, and SHINee has continued to release impactful music and become one of the most prominent K-pop acts of the generation. The group performed it on television for the first time on May 25, commemorating their anniversary. They went on to be recognize as one of the most prominent newcomers in the Korean music industry in 2008, and have served up hit after hit ever since.
2. They were the third male quintet formed by SM Entertainment.
The company sparked a new era for South Korean music with each of its first two five-member boy bands, with the 1996 debut of H.O.T igniting K-pop in earnest and TVXQ!’s 2003 debut leading to them becoming one of Asia’s most dominant musical acts of the decade. SHINee was no different, and since their very first single through the present the group -- Onew, Key, Jonghyun, Minho, and Taemin -- has become the epitome of what K-pop boy bands should strive for in regards to artistry and performance value.
3. It’s a SHINee World, we’re all just living in it.
The tenth anniversary since SHINee’s first album is being celebrated around the world by Shawols, the boy band’s fandom that derive their name from “SHINee World.” Hashtags like "SHINee is Back" and "SHINee's 10th Anniversary" even have a distinct emoji on Twitter.
4. Pearl aqua diamonds are a sign of the group.
Just about every K-pop group out there has a distinct color that defines their fandom, and SHINee’s is pearl aqua, a soft blue-green hue. The act recently unveiled its first official light stick, in the shape of a shining diamond to match the iconography the quintet has used for a decade.
5. Whatever genre they touch, they take ownership of.
SHINee rose to fame with the R&B vibe of “Replay,” and they’ve frequently revisited the sound over the years, but with each hit after hit the group has reinvented itself, exploring everything from complextro (“Everybody”) to deep house (“View)” to New jack swing (“1 of 1”), and then some. For some acts, it could come off as a struggle to find their distinct sound but this eclectic slant is the very basis of what has made SHINee a Korean music icon; it has enabled the group’s vocalists to showcase their versatility as performers without limitations.
6. Several members have released solo albums or worked on other projects.
Since their start, each member of SHINee has been involved in projects outside of the group’s efforts, ranging from soundtracks of South Korean television shows to working on songs with other artists under SM Entertainment. In 2014, things began to change, and Key formed a one-off duo known as ToHeart with Nam Woohyun of INFINITE. Plus, Taemin released a solo album called Ace. Since then, both Taemin and Jonghyun have gone on to release multiple solo albums. The latter’s posthumous release Poet | Artist went to No. 177 on the Billboard 200.
7. They basically invented skinny jeans.
SHINee’s worth as pop artists is undeniable, but they served up looks in their early days that made them fashion icons in South Korea. They were the first K-pop boy band to gain prominence for leaning into brighter, slimmer, and altogether more boyish looks, a shift away from the darker ensembles typically commonly seen on K-pop boy bands in the mid-2000s. The group's gone on to explore numerous other looks, but they're still leaders of fashion in the K-pop world.
The verdict is still out on whether SHINee or Girls’ Generation, through their 2009 hit “Gee,” were more impactful regarding the rise of vibrantly-hued skinny jeans in South Korea, though.
8. They have a hand in their music.
Several members of SHINee, most notably Jonghyun and Minho, have had a role in crafting the group’s sound over the years, and Taemin has co-written some of his solo songs. Before his passing, Jonghyun was one of the most promising singer-songwriters to come out of a K-pop group, and had written music for several of South Korea’s most popular female soloists, including IU and Lee Hi.
9. Their performances are captivating.
There are few K-pop acts out there that can hold a candle to SHINee on a skill level, and their performances are some of the best to ever come out of the Korean pop music industry. With harmonious vocals and captivating dance moves from members who have spent the past ten years honing their talent, SHINee's live shows are something to witness in person at least once in a lifetime.
10. Kim Jonghyun passed away last year, but will always be part of SHINee.
On Dec. 18 of last year, fans of SHINee from around the globe were shocked by the sudden loss of singer-songwriter Kim Jonghyun, who died by suicide after struggling with depression. The tight bonds of the act saw the four other men serve as mourners in Kim’s funeral service, taking up roles traditionally saved for family members. They have since released their final Japanese album to feature new music from Jonghyun, and the group’s upcoming anniversary album series will be SHINee’s first new Korean music since his passing.
Key shared a photo of SHINee with SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man on Instagram to commemorate the group’s first decade, and used the hashtag “wish you were here” in what fans have interpreted to be a message towards Jonghyun.
Watch the teaser video for SHINee’s upcoming single “Good Evening” below: